So, you’re stuck in Albuquerque for spring break, whiling away the hours, while your friends are on some beach somewhere.

What is there to do in Albuquerque? This list should have you covered on low-budget spring break options in the 505.


Outside: Albuquerque is full of outdoor excursions on the cheap. If your idea of going out means lacing up your hiking boots, grabbing your bike helmet or snagging your crash pads, then you’re in the right place.



Paseo del Bosque

The 16 miles of free trails accessible in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and the South Valley are a free and easy way to be outdoors in spring. It’s not just for hikers and bikers, but also for those who like long walks on the (Tingley) Beach, where they can view great local art. You can even bring your four-legged pals, as long as they’re leashed.

Key: ($: cost between $1-15) ($$: cost between $15-25) ($$$: cost between $25-45)

Website: cabq.gov/parksandrecreation

La Luz, Sandia Ascent

If walking the Bosque sounds too tame, but you’re on a budget, check out one of the Cibola National Forest’s most famous trails: the La Luz Sandia peak ascent. This strenuous 9-mile hike is not for the faint of heart. Layer for the weather and take plenty of food and water.

Website: laluztrail.com

Sandia Peak Ski and Tramway ($$ to $$$)

The tram offers the great view on top of the Sandia Mountains without the hike. The desert views unfold beneath, traveling just over two miles to the top. Sandiago’s Grill at the Tram is open at the base of the tram for both lunch and dinner.

Tickets: Adults $25, more information can be accessed here

Hours: Open daily 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (except Tuesdays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.)

Website: sandiapeak.com

Petroglyph National Monument ($)

This national park is something completely different. Situated on the West Mesa, the day-use park is filled with great hiking trails. It hosts about 24,000 petroglyphs carved into basalt by Native Americans and Spanish settlers.

Parking Fee: $2 per car

Website: nps.gov.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument ($)

Located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, near Cochiti, these rock formations are unique in the Southwest landscape. Remnants of volcanic eruptions have eroded over millions of years to create swooping canyons and the “tent rocks” formations of tall pillars with a capstone on top.

Entry Fee: Private vehicles, $5

Hours: Open 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m

Website: blm.gov


Inside: There’s plenty to explore indoors if nature’s not calling. From local deals and great events, Albuquerque offers something for everyone.

The Albuquerque Museum (Free to $)

Free Entry on Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For an elevated afternoon, explore this art museum, smack in the middle of Old Town. Highlighted exhibits include “Art of Politics” and a special U.S.-Mexico border exhibition.

Tickets: Adults $3 to $4

Website: cabq.gov/culturalservices

Explora Adult Night, for ages 18 and up ($)

Explora is part science center, part children’s museum and all fun. This event includes live music provided by Strictly Commercial, exhibit exploration and a “Feeling Lucky” theme.

Date: March 16

Hours: 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets: $8

Website: esccma.explora.us

The Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest ($)

Feeling jittery for the highly anticipated annual chocolate and coffee fest? Expect endless chocolate samples, events like coffee tasting and yoga, an event for people who like the finer grind in life.

Tickets: Adults (one day): $10

Location: EXPO New Mexico State Fairgrounds, Manuel Lujan Buildings A, B, and C.

Dates: March 17 and 18

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Website: chocolateandcoffeefest.com


In the Area

Santa Fe, New Mexico: 1-hour drive north of Albuquerque, accessible via Rail Runner

Meow Wolf: House of Eternal Return ($$)

What do you get when you cross the weird brain-child of local artists sponsored by fantasy writer George R. R. Martin and an empty bowling alley? Meow Wolf.

Do I even have to write about the interactive art exhibit/music venue/choose-your-own mystery adventure at this point? If you haven’t seen it, do so.

Tickets: $22 ($19 for New Mexico residents)

Dates: Open daily (except Tuesdays) with extended hours Fridays and Saturdays.

Website: meowwolf.com

Taos, New Mexico: 2.5-hour drive north of Albuquerque

Taos Hot Springs by the Rio Grande River (Free)

Finally, a place to relax, without a stress-inducing price tag. Taos has earthships, a great art scene, skiing and of course, the hot springs. Free to access, and five minutes from the road, grab your swimsuit and get ready to relax.

Website with directions: taos.org

The Albuquerque event calendar in the Alibi and the Atlas Obscura’s list of things to do in New Mexico may also offer more options.

Danielle Prokop is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. The opinions in this column are her own. She can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @ProkopDani.